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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 16, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST

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first time. two new committees to be granted subpoena power to continue investigating. subpoenas that could include the two christie staffers. there's a new poll, bringing a bit of in news for christie. the numbers show the scandal has done little to change people's pins of him, except maybe when it comes to the much ballyhooed 2016 matchup between christie and hillary clinton. he trails her by 13 points. >> chris christie is still being introduced to the public. this is the first, maybe second impression. that's why this is actually more damaging than i think we appreciate. straight to trenton, new jersey. michael isikoff is there, our nbc investigative correspondent. micha michael, what is the legislature doing today? >> reporter: well, it's going to
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be a pretty busy day here. at noon, the assembling will be meeting and reauthorizing subpoena power for the assembly committee headed by wiznewski, and issuing subpoenas, almost certainly for bridget kelly's e-mails, and bill steppi, and separately the senate is creating its own committee. so two separate committees, almost certainly we'll have a special counsel hired by the assembly committee. there will likely be a assembly counsel hired by the committee. lots of subpoenas this will be a boon for lawyers, if nothing else.
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>> what about chris christie himself? business as usual? what are you hearing in terms of his schedule and that business as usual. >> reporter: first of all, he has hired his own outside counsel, longtime aide to rudie giuliani, managing all of these inquirie inquiries. one thing of note from the governor's office today, it says the administration is fully cooperating with the u.s. attorney's review and other appropriate inquiries. again that use of the word "appropriate, which has some of the legislators on edge saying, wait a second, are you suggesting, governor, that our inquiries are not appropriate or leaving open the option at some point of claiming this is partisan politics? that's certainly a question the governor will have to answer. >> quickly here, michael, you
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were looking at that first tranche, if you will, of going through the documents. anything else -- that may be subpoenaed or that might be out there as we speak? >> look, the fact is we have only seen a fraction of what's out there. if we take those demming e-mails that came out last week which talk for time with traffic problems in ft. lee, written by bridget kelly, the deputy chief of staff, and then david wildstein, suggests there was a -- there were prior texts about where this idea came from. that certainly with both these assembly and senate committees, they'll be looking for all those e-mails, the prior e-mails and prior text messages. there's clearly a lot more to come. >> michael isikoff, thank you as always. in addition to the assembly,
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laer leaders in the state senate planning their own committee, meeting today to establish the panel itself, which like the one in the assembly, is expected to have subpoena power. lo recei loretta wine berg is expected to lead that committee. it's the first day of work for you there. >> we do. if this is my first day of work, i don't believe that. i've been at work for quite some time here. >> that's absolutely correct. what subpoenas can we expect today? and how many? >> well, what i am looking forward to is subpoenaing documents from some of the people that i had personal interchange with going back to september when this first happened. this is not a new issue to me. i happen to represent ft. lee.
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i am representing the thousands of citizens who live there, living in the geographic area that i represent, as well as the thousands of citizens that both governor christie and i represent who were caught in that horrendous traffic jam. i am going to be subpoenaing documents from the port authority chairman, david sampson, from a commissioner on the port authority, william pat schubert, and from the governor's new chief of staff. when we see those documents, then we can make our next decisions. >> what do you hope to find with this request, these documents that i have just listed out to us? how many are we talking about? el these thousands? hundreds? >> well, i don't know until they respond to the subpoena. i don't know how many documents are there. but i wrote a her way back in september just -- less than a week after this happened. i wrote the her to commissioner
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shuber, because his's a former burton county executive. i have a relationship with him, even though he represents another party from my own, but i knew he was a former bergen county, and he knows what this meant to our citizens. that her i wrote, i cc'd davidson and the governor. that's back in september i think i want to know with the port authority commission meetings i went to at least three full commission meetings, one subcommittee, raising these questions, beginning back appear receive into october, november, december. i have never gotten one answer back from any of these gentlemen. so one of the things i want to know is, what did you do? what e-mails dissend? you commissioner shuber promised you would get to the bottom of
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this. did you send an e-mail? did you contact anyone? did you talk to your staff? what was the result. all i can tell you is after four months of raising questions, and after my going to the port authority and saying to you if i don't get these answers, i am going to request subpoena power, i did that way before. and i have yet to hear those answers. so the assembly is creating a new committee and the senate is creating a new committee. >> to that letter, and again chris christie during that extensive news briefing said it was october 1st or in that area that he had first heard about this controversy. your her was dated before that. >> dated september 19th. >> do you believe he had read that letter? hand if you don't have that answer, if you don't know at this moment, do you expect him to answer that during your processes?
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>> i assume if they get a letter on senate herhead, somebody would take, maybe i'm wrong and don't know how they handle the correspondence. >> the legal representation that christie has now secured, outside legal representation, how do you react to that? >> he's entitled to get whatever legal representation he feels is necessary. we are entitled to exercise legislative oversight, and that's what the senate is going to be doing today. >> thank you so much, new jersey senate majority leader loretta wineberg. >> thank you. marist polling, more than
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two thirds say their opinion of him is largely unchanged. that's despite about three quarters of voters saying they heard a lot or some about the scandal. here now is karen finney, host of "disrupt with karen finney." great to see you. >> hey, richard. >> you were listening to senator wine better and her responses. there is the development of outside legal help being secured. there's the double dynamic of two efforts being levied here, one by the assembly and one by the senate itself. they may clash here, so there's a lot of moving parts? >> there are, and again we're in the situation where we don't yet know what we don't know. the problem that chris christie will have, regardless of what a poll says today, is that as this unfolds, there's going to be more questions, more information. i think one of the biggest questions will be whether or not he will invoke executive privilege, which he has done in the past.
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doing something like that opens up -- you could write the ads for 2016, even if there is perfectly reasonable reasons why he does it, it raises the questions, why would you do that? what are you trying to hide? i think the challenge that christie has is he will be on defense for the majority of the process. he tried to put himself back on offense, saying i was lied to, we're all going to get through this, but yet he really is on defense. >> and a bit of offense, too, here. is the polls showing that nationally he hasn't necessarily taken a hit. so where in your political communications hat, and it's a big hat. is he hitting on all cylinders? doing as much as he can to come back? >> i think he's doing what he can to come back. if it were -- if i were advising
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him, i would suggest maybe be -- show more concern for the people and not so much about how you were lied to, but in general being seen with sandy survivors, what's interesting, though, is he is going down to fla this weekend in his role as head of the republican governors association. thus far all those events are closed press. >> that's interesting, though, right, karen? >> right. >> he's going out of state. he will be representing, if you will, the interests of republican governors, tested on the national platform of in terms of is he still likable? >> but also remember, as he goes there, so in florida, whether or not people get to see the two of them together, you're goinging to stories that say impacted republican govern are chris christie. the story has a chance to spread with more details and more parts of the country, so i think some of that polls right now that's good for him, but as people learn more about what was going
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on and if there is more to learn, he has a real liability there. >> this is an interesting piece of news today. the tea party rep who ran against cory booker for that new jersey senate seat last year, and also somebody here, karen, that until now -- he's kept some distance from, what is he doing now? how does this make sense? >> he's got to shore up his base a bit, right? he recognizes he has some liabilities now, particularly if -- depending on what comes out of some of those subpoenas. he's realizing he has to reach back out to some of those folks that he can either shore up their support or get their support. remember, the other dynamic that we have seen in new jersey is some seem to smell booed in the water. you see more democratic mayors coming forward saying i had retribution, so he has to figure
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out where his support is. remember his's doing all of this without some of the top aides he's relied on for the last several years, so really in some uncharted territory. >> and there's some reps smelling blood in the water who do not like christie. a problem is hillary clinton as well, the same nbc poll that we had mentioned earlier find the lead has turned into a 13-point lead. you know, it's early, but does this show a weakness on christie's support. on the one side it's what's bigger, is itti? the so-called bridge-gate for christie? >> i think at this point we don't know. i suspect that given that benghazi, i know the republicans will disagree, has largely been sort of dealt with and proven in terms of the testimony that's been given about what happened. i think we know a lot more about what happened than the republicans like to admit. i think it's much easier for
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secretary clinton to answer to those questions. christie, again this process is ongoing. there are a number of different investigations ongoing, and then we haven't even talked about the potential for civil cases with people who were stuck on the bridge. the point being this can grow for chris christie in ways i don't think we even know yet. >> two more years to go, my friend. live in washington, d.c., chris christie at a live event. you with watch "disrupt with karen finney" on the weekend afternoons at 4:00 eastern. don't miss those. that brings us to today's big question. who has the bigger political challenge to overcome? clinton with benghazi or christie with bridge-gate? we'll share some of your comments and thoughts later. developing now, we're going live at the white house, where any minute the president and first lady will launch a new college initiative. their goal to encourage low-income students to pursue
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higher education. they have invited the presidents of 80 colleges and universities around the country for the kickoff of that campaign. we'll have live coverage of the remarks as they happen. stay with us. we'll be right back. [ woman #1 ] why do i cook? because an empty pan is a blank canvas. [ woman #2 ] to share a moment. [ woman #3 ] to travel the world without leaving home. [ male announcer ] whatever the reason. whatever the dish. make it delicious with swanson.
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bulldog: tickles! mattress discounters' year end clearance sale ends monday. ♪ mattress discounters taking a live to new jersey, where governor chris christie is speaking, talking about efforts to recover from superstorm sandy. >> making the decision we made which is to put the least fortunate to the head of the line, when combined with the amount of devastation their home has experienced, is that we need proof of all that. we need proof of the income and assets you have, we need proof from your town to say your home is substantially damaged or destroyed. that's everybody time we ask for more paperwork, it's more time.
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i get that. but understand what i'm trying to balance here, everybody. i'm trying to help the people who need it most first and work our way down the line. at the end, so far that's working, because of those housing funds i just talked about, 72.9% of that money has been targeted effectively at low and moderate income folks, which is to find families with income less than 80% of the state's median income. >> governor christie talking about sandy recovery, so many months after superstorm sandy has hit new jersey. he's trying to get back to regular business as his state legislature looks into two investigations potentially into what had happened with bridge-gate, the george washington bridge. we'll be following him and this story throughout this hour. to washington now, the senate is expected to pass a
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massive spending bill, but behind the scenes, they're strategizing ways to keep control of the senate. the caucus met with president obama last night at the white house to touch base and go over priorities. politico reporting says they spoke about iran, minimum wage, immigration and maintaining the senate. a handful of senate democrats are in jeopardy. right now the balance of power stands at 53 democrats, and two independents who caucused with them and 45 republicans, but if republicans' net six seats, they'll take control. joining mess is john tester of montana, he was at last night's meeting. senator, great to be with us here. tell me, what did the president tell you? >> to be honest with you, the president did a whole lot more listening than talking. he talked about education, retraining, and doing things to keep the economy moving forward, but really he was listening from
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the senators to hear what their priorities were, some of which were the same, education, retaining unemployment insurance and those kinds of things, but it focused around empowering the middle class, making sure that we maintain the middle class that is the envy of the world. >> you heard the numbers i was bringing about. about a half dozen seats perhaps of concern for your caucus. what did the president say about maintaining control in the senate? >> i think, sure, we want to keep control of the senate, i think it's very, very important, but the president is on the ballot this year. we have a lot of good candidates, and a lot of the red states that you talked about that have donnell an incredible job over the time that i've been here. there's going to be a lot of work that has been toss done in the meantime, but in order to win, they have to tell the folks
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what they've been doing, the same as i did back in to 12. to be honest, i'm not sure the president can do a heck of a lot about it. i think it's more in the hands of those individual candidates doing what they have to do to win, same way as in 2012, where the president didn't do particularly well in montana, we had to go out and tell folks what we stood for, why we voted how we voted, and montana made the better choice. >> roll call today, they were mentions the mid terms saying, quote, the stumbling roll-out has given the gop hope, it can loosen the grip by ousting the four most vulnerable -- you have 21 seats up to defend. so does the president help or hurt those who are in red states, or just in general up for reelection? >> well, i think when it comes to health care, i think you need to look -- this is what the candidates need to point out. they need to look at where we've
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come from and where we're going. i've said this before and i'll say it again. i think come november 28d be a net positive. take montana, for example, the republican leader, who is the republicans leading the polls to be the nominee, his whole campaign is based on repealing obamacare, the affordable health care agent and repealing all the things out there that quite frankly middle-class americans and folks are going to depend upon if they'll be able to afford to get sick. the website is starting to work very very well, and i think ten months is a long time. come november, i think the kaentsds will be able to go around their respective states and talk about the real advantages that have happened. >> senator john tester of montana, thank you so much for your time today. >> absolutely. thank you. all right. developing news, the president and first lady to hold a rare
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joint appearance in support of a new initiative. they want to help more low-income students. we'll bring you the live remarks as they happen, right after this. ♪ ♪ nothing says, "you're my #1 copilot," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪ say it with milk-bone. i took medicine but i still have symptoms. [ sneeze ] [ male announcer ] truth is not all flu products treat all your symptoms. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus severe cold and flu speeds relief to these eight symptoms. [ breath of relief ] thanks. [ male announcer ] you're welcome. ready? go. [ male announcer ] you're welcome.
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there is new evidence that an american service member is still alive nearly five years after he disappeared from his base in afghanistan. the united states has intercepted a video that shows army sergeant bowe bergdahl looking frail. friends of the family are saying they just want him home. >> they just continually stress that they miss their son. they would just -- they have never given up their hope and their dreams of their son coming home soon. >> bergdahl is the only u.s.
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service member currently held captive by enemy forces. you're looking at live pictures of the worries when any minute the president and the first lady will launch an initiative. they have invited presidents from some 80 colleges and universities across the country to join them for the kickoff. joining me is matthew siegle, cofounder of ourtime.org. they're going to come together for, what, six hours of programming today. we'll hear from the president and first lady. i want to you help me with this hear. reuters saying that students born into families in the bottom 25% of income have only a 9% chance of graduating from college. tell us about how severe this problem is. >> it's a big problem. a lot of it has to do with the
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fact that k through 12 is failing, because k through 12 is encouraging everyone to go to college, and there's massive pressure to go to college, because you're likely to have a higher life-long earnings and salary if you go to college. but part of the problem is that people are enrolling in college underprepared, undereducated about the student loan debt they're going to have to manage. all of a sudden after a semester or two, they're stuck with $10,000 or $20,000 in bills, and they say how will i pay for this? let alone, what am i here in college for focus on. they haven't thought through the planning part, the matching part. now everyone says do i want to go to college to be an engineer or a nurse? or figure it out? i think people need to have a conversation longer on that.
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>> again we're watching live pictures, waiting for the president to come speak at the white house any moment. there's also the issue related -- undermatching. so the students believe that they shouldn't apply for schools that may be more selective, but yet they qualify. i think it's about matching for the career that you want. we've seen some schools become these droe factories, which are primarily for-profit colleges. they hand you a degree, put you in debt, and you're not necessarily qualified for any job, but what people and students are going to have to do in order to manage the increasing cost of colleges, saying in advance with their families in a confers, what do i want to be. am i going to college to learn general studies or liberal arts and critical thinking? or am i going to actually prepared to a specific job?
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some colleges you don't need a four-year degree for a job. if you want to become a tech developer, you might need a one or two-year technical institute, and therefore paying for a four-year college is a bad decision. it's not about encouraging people from lower socioeconomic background to avoid ivy league schools. that would be an elitist argument. it will be encouraging them to think more carefully about the best institution for them based on the career -- the idea of undermatching is they self-select they do not apply for the schools that may be more expensive. a lot of that has to do with the income level. students born in the -- almost 54% of them do graduate from college sow yunds lining again what i expect the president to
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be talking about. that's the challenge of not being in the upper 25%. it's about support systems. if you are from a low-income family, you have to sometimes worry about transportation. a lot of the people that drop out of college even on scholarship, because they realize that the room and board and meal expenses, general expenses part of the college experience are untenable for them to afford. so if you come from a lower-income background, you don't necessarily have the support systems and the discretionary income and help from your parents or help from friends or family available to you in order to make it through, whereas obviously if you come from an upper income background, you do have the support systems, sometimes private tutors to help you get through. we saul a report about unc chapel hill where athletes going to the school railroad
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illiterate, because they were encouraged to go to college and play football, basketball or so forth, but they had not been given the tutoring and support systems net. therefore they were underperforming. stand by, matt. i want to bring in goalie taylor, a columnist for the grillo, and jamal buoy, a writer for "the daily beast." goldie, type in here. the focus of the president's message is low-income assistance, helping the students that sit at that level. >> what do you expect the president to be focusing on? >> elf to agree with so i expect the president to announce some kinds of reforms that may address that problem. what i'm less enthusiastic about is that sometimes when we make
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some of these well-intentioned reforms, they had tend to inflate or cause undue inflation in the cost of tuition and other things that go along with attending college. so i believe the president is very, very interested and invested in making, you know, higher education more attainable for students who certainly qualify, but don't have the financial means, but i want this administration to begin to rethink how it enact some of these reforming, and that they often impact the way that tuition costs rise. >> jamal, when you look at this, one of the ideas that's been brought up to address this dynamicer pell grants. it is helping, a program that's working, because you're wringing in those students that do need the economic support. is that idea a good one? >> i think pell grantsds are a fine program, one that does help
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lower-income students. i think one of the problems you run into is that pell grants sort of inadvertently subsidize universities, so you need a way to keep them accountable. it's one thing to bring students in. if you're bringing students in without making sure the students are able to success over the course of their two years or four years, it honestly is sort of not the best use of resources. my hope is that the administration, like goldie said, the administration announces something to help accountability and performance measures so we know when we're spending cash to help students go to these universities and colleges, that they're not then subsequently dropping out after a year or two. >> just to inform our viewers, we are looking at live pictures from the white house. what we seed on the left-hand screen is troy i'mens, a new orleans native who graduated from new orleans east science and math academy in 2012. he is introducing the president and the first lady.
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back to you, matt, here. is this more of a mosh dressing or more dressing getting some done? >> that's the key question here. >> something our organization that a lot of advocacy groups works with younger americans is incredibly supportive of is this notion of a college scorecard. a lot of institutions, and particularly lobbyists for higher education outlets are reticent. they want this unfettered access to money and grants, funding, and so forth to bring students in without necessarily the
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accountability strings attached. so we'll see if it's dressing, but hopefully what the president will be successful in doing is encouraging the college presidents to comply and be big supporters of this scorecard measure. >> goldie, one of the concerns brought up by some -- and those happen to be unions that represent teachers, is that sometimes, and in recent situations, the funding that comes out, the billions, millions that are allocated, will go toward nonpublic education solutions. what's your thought in terms of how real that concern might be for these unions? >> i think for unions, and it certainly is a concern, but i think those dollars ought to go to the sectors that show the propensity for the most inoy investigation. so i expect that public schoolteachers ought to damn well compete the same way everybody else would. i'm fully supportive of teachers' unions, but to say
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these dollars are going to be disparate is to say i'm not going to compete. i want public schoolteachers to step up, and i know they can, and compete for those dollars. >> are there certain times of yurts and schools here, jamal that could benefit from such programs we'll be hearing about, and the allocation of funds, that specialize in certain groups or specialize in certain geographies that we would hope to hear from? >> well, absolutely. you have to understand, i think, that the vast majority of people going to college are going to noncompetitive institutions. pretty much most people getting a college education aren't going to the competitive yufrtss that i think we think of in places like d.c. and new york. they're just going to places that pretty much admit everyone. those are the places where you can improve standards, such that you have a lot of students getting more bang for their buck, and they're located sort
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of around the country in my -- >> jamal stand by, the first lady of the united states. >> i'm excited to be here today with all of you. we have with us today college and university presidents, experts, advocates, civic and business leaders. i want to thank all of you for taking the time to be here today and working day to help young people pursue their education and build brighter futures for themselves and our country. i would also like us to give a really big hand to troy for sharing that story. >> that's pretty powerful stuff and presented so eloquently. yesterday i met troy. he was nervous. i don't really know why you were nervous. you're pretty awesome. >> thank you. >> so troy's story reminds us
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all of the limitless capacity that lies within all of our young people, no matter where they come from or how much money they have. troy is an example of why we all should care deeply about this issue, and troy and millions of others like him are why i care so much about this issue and why in the coming years i'm going to be spending more and more of my time focusing on education. because as everyone here knows, education is the key to success for so many kids. my goal specifically is to reach out directly to young people, and encourage them to take charge of their futures and complete an education beyond high school. i'm doing this because so often when we talk about education, where he talk about our young people and what we need to do for them. we talk about the programs we need to create for them, about
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the resources we need to devote to them, but we must remember that education is a two-way bargain. and whiling there so much more we must do for our kids, at the end of the day, as troy described, the person who has the most say over whether or not a student succeeds is the student him or herself. ultimately they are the one sitting in that classroom. they're the ones who have to set goals for themselves and work hard to achieve those goals every single day. so my hope is that with this new effort, that instead of talking about our kids we talk with our kids, i want to hear what's going on in their lives. i want to inspire them to step up and commit to their education so they can have opportunities they never even dreamed up. i'm doing this because that story of opportunity through education is the story of my
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life, and i want them to know that it can be their story, too. but only -- only if they devote themselves to continuing their education past high school. and for many students that might mean attending a college or university like the ones many of you represent. for others, it might mean choosing a community college. it might mean pursuing short-term professional training. but no matter what they do, i want to make sure that students believe that they have what it takes to succeed beyond high school. that's going to be my message to young people. but here's the thing -- i know that that message alone isn't enough. like i said, this is a two-way street. that means we all have to step up. make no mistake about it, these kids are smart. they will notice if we're not holding up our end of the bargain. they will notice if we tell them about applying for college or
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financial aid, but then no one is there to help them choose the right school or fill out the right forms. they will notice if we tell them that they're good enough to graduate from college, but then no college asks them to apply. no college invites them to visit their campus. and so we've got to recommit ourselves to helping these kids pursue their education. as you discussed in your first panel today, one of the first steps is getting more underserved young people onto college campuses. the fact is that right now we are missing out on so much potential because so many promising young people, like troy, who have the talent to success, simply don't believe college is a reality to them. too many of them are falling through the cracks. you know that too well.
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that's why you are already finding ways to reach out to the underserved students in your communities. you're helping them to navigate the financial aid and college admissions process, and helping them find schools that match their abilities and interests. i know from my own experience just how important all of that work is that you're doing. see, the truth is that if princeton hadn't found my brother as a basketball recruit, and if i hadn't seen that he could succeed on a campus like that, it never would have occurred to me to apply to that school. never. i know there are so many kids out there like me, kids with a world of potential, but maybe their parents never went to college or maybe they've never been encouraged to believe they could succeed there. so that means it's our job to find those kids.
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it's our job to help them understand their potential and then get them enrolled in a college that can help them meet their needs. they all know just getting into school is only half the story. once students are there, they have got to graduate. that's not always easy, especially given what many of these kids are dealing with when they get to campus. just think about it. you just heard a snippet from troy. just to make it to college, these kids have already overcome so much. neighborhoods riddled with crimes and drugs. moms and dads who weren't around. too many nights when they had to go to bed hungry, but as i tell these kids when i talk to them, we can't thing about those experiences that they've had as weaknesses. just the opposite. they're actually strengths. faison and overcoming these challenges, these skills have
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developed skills like grit and resilience that many of their peers will never be able to compete with, never. when they get out in the world, those are the exact skills they will need to succeed, and they will succeed. but imagine how hard it is to realize that. when you first get to college, you're in a whole new world. you might have trouble making friends, because you don't see any peers who come from a background like yours. you might be worried about paying for classes, food, room and board, because you've never had to set your own budget before. you might be feeling guilty when you call home, because mom and dad are wondering why you didn't get a job so you could help support your family. those are the obstacles these kids are facing right from day one, but let's be clear. all of that isn't just a challenge for them. it's a challenge for folks like us who are committed to helping them succeed.
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make no mistake about it, that is our mission the not simply giving speeches or raising money or hosting conferences, but to take real, meaningful action that will help our young people get into college and more importantly actually get their degree. here's the good news. time and again, you all have shown that you have the experience, the passion, and the resource to help these young people thrive. for example, in recent decades, you've realized that students from across the socioeconomic spectrum have been coming to campus with more and more issues like eating disorders, learning disabilities, emotional challenges like depression and anxiety, so much more. luckily you have not shied away from these issues. i've seen it. i worked at a university. you haven't said these aren't our problems. no, no, you've stepped up.
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while there's still work left to do on these issues, you're working every day to support these kids through outreach initiatives and support group. you know that these issues have a huge impact on whether children can learn and succeed at your school. now, as you begin to see more and more underserved students on your campuses, we need to direct that same energy and determination toward helping these kids face their unique challenges. now, fortunately you've already got the expertise you need to address these issues, and simply by building on what you're already doing best, you can make real differences for these kids. that's what so many of you are doing with commitments you have made here at the summit. for example, every school offers financial aid services, but listen to what the university of minnesota is doing. they're committing to expand those services to include
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financial literacy programs to help students and their families manage the costs of college. every school has advisers who desperately want their students to succeed, oregon tech is committing to set up a text message program so that these advisers can connect more easily with students who need some extra encouragement or academic support. every college has orientation programs or learning communities to help students transition to college. many of the schools here today are supplementing those programs by partnering with organizations like the posse foundation, so that underserved students can connect and build a social network before they even step foot on campus. those were the types of resources that helped a kid like me not just survive, but thrive at a school like princeton. when i first arrived at school
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as a first-generation college student, i didn't know anyone on campus except my brother. i didn't know how to pick the right classes or find the right buildings. i didn't even bring for my dorm bed. i didn't realize those beds were so long. so i was a little overwhelmed and a little isolated. but then i had an opportunity to participate in a three-week on-campus orientation program that helped me get a feel for the rhythm of college life. once school started, i discovered the campus cultural center where i found students and staff who came from families and communities that were similar to my own. and they understood what i was going through. they were there to listen when i was feeling frustrated and there to answer questions i was too embarrassed to ask anyone else. if it weren't for those resources and the friends and mentors, i honestly don't know how i would have made it through
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college. but instead, i graduated at the top of my class and went to law school and you know the rest. so whether -- it aligning with an organization like posse or offering a new advising or mentoring program or creating a central space where students can connect with one another, can all can take simple steps to determine whether the kids drop out or step up and thrive. that's not just for young people but good for your schools. if you embrace and empower these students and make they have good campus experiences, then they are going to stay engaged with your school for decades after they graduate. they will be dressed up in school colors at home coming games and asking to serve on your committees and advisory boards and doing their part when fundraising season rolls around. b
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believe me, these will be the best alumni you can ask for. because after everything these kids will have overcome to get into college and get through college, they'll have all of the skills they need to run our businesses and lab and teach in our classrooms and lead our communities. look at me. look at troy. and the countless success stories from the organizations in schools represented here in this room. that's how we will win. this country, we will win by tapping the full responsible of all of our young people so that we can grow our economy and move this country forward. let me tell you, that is something that my husband understands deeply because his life story, just like mine, is rooted in education as well. as president, that is what drives him every single day. his goal of expanding opportunity to millions of
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americanses who are striving to build better futures for themselves and families and for our country as well. so now it is my pleasure to introduce my husband, the president of the united states, barack obama. [ applause ] thank you, everybody. thank you so much. thank you. everybody please have a seat. welcome to the white house, everybody. and let me begin by thanking troy and sharing his remarkable story. i could not be more inspired by what he's accomplished and can't wait to see what he's going to accomplish in the future. my wife, it's hard to speak after her.
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[ applause ] we're in the back and gene spurling who did extraordinary work putting this whole summit together, said everybody is so excited that michelle is here. [ laughter ] i said, well, what -- what about me? but you should be excited about her being here because she brings a passion and a body of experience and passion to this issue that is extraordinary. and i couldn't be prouder of the work she's already done and the work i know she's going to keep on doing around these issues. now she did leave one thing out of her speech and that is, it's her birthday tomorrow. so i want everybody to -- [ applause ] just keep that in mind.
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now, we are here for one purpose. we want to make sure more young people have the chance to earn a higher education. and in the 21st century economy, we all understand it's never been more important. the good news is that our economy is steadily growing. and strengthening after the worst recession in a generation. so we created more than 8 million new jobs, manufacturing is growing led by a booming auto industry. thanks to some key public investments in advances like affordable energy and research and development, what we've seen is not only an energy revolution in this country that bodes well for our future. but in areas like health care, for example, we've slowed the growth of health care costs in
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ways that a lot of people wouldn't have anticipated as recently as five or ten years ago. so there are a lot of good things going on in the economy. and businesses are starting to invest. in fact, what we're seeing are businesses overseas starting to say -- instead of outsourcing, let's insource back into the u.s. all of that bodes well for our future. here's the thing though. we don't grow for the same of growth. we grow so it translates into a growing middle class, people getting jobs and being able to support their families and people being able to pass something onto the next generation. we want to restore the essential promise of opportunity and upward mobility that's at the heart of america. the notion if you work hard you can get ahead. you can improve your situation in life. you can make something of
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yourself. the same essential story that troy so eloquently told about himself. and the fact is, it's been getting harder to do that for a lot of people. it is harder for folks to start in one place and move up that ladder. and that was true long before the recession hit. and that's why i've said that in 2014, we have to consider this a year of action, not just to grow the economy, not just to increase gdp and not just to make sure that corporations are profitable and stock market is doing well and financial system is stable, we've also got to make sure that that growth is broad based and that everybody has a chance to access that growth and take advantage of it. we've got to make sure we're creating new jobs and is that the wages and benefits that go along with the jobs can support a family. we have to make sure that there
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are new letters of opportunity in the middle class and that those ladders doctor wrungs on those ladders are solid for more people. i'll be working with congress where i can to accomplish this but i'm also going to act on my own if congress is deadlocked. i've got a pen to take executive action where congress won't. and i've got a telephone to rally folks around the country on this mission. today is a great example of how without a whole bunch of new legislation, we can advance this agenda. we've got philanthropists and business leaders here, leaders of innovative not for profits and college presidents from state universities and historically black colleges to ivy league universities. more than 100 colleges and 40 organizations are announcing new commitments to help more young
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people not only go to but graduate from college. and that's an extraordinary accomplishment and we didn't pass a bill to do it. everybody here is participating, i believe, because you know that college graduation has never been more valuable than it is today. unemployment for americans with a college degree is more than a third lower than the national average. incomes twice as high as though without a high school diploma. college is not the only path to success. we've got to make sure that more americans of all age are getting the skills they need to access the jobs out there right now, but, more than ever a college degree is the surest path to a stable middle class life. and higher education speaks to
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something more than that, the premise we're all created equal is an open line in our american story and we don't promise equal outcomes, we strive to deliver equal opportunity. the idea that success does not depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit. you can be born into nothing and work your way into something extraordinary. and to a kid that goes to college, maybe like michelle, first in his or her family, that means everything. the fact is, if we hadn't made a commitment as a country to send more of our people to college, michelle, me, maybe a few of you, would not be here today. my grandfather wasn't rich but when he came home from the war he got the chance to study on the gi bill. i grew up with a single mom. and she had me when she was 18 years old. there are a

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